Secret Service documents handed over to January 6 committee show law enforcement discussed Capitol threats
Documents provided to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection by the US Secret Service show that the agency and its law enforcement partners were aware of social media posts that contained violent language and threats aimed at lawmakers prior to the US Capitol attack.
The documents, obtained exclusively by CNN, were handed over to the committee ahead of Thursday’s hearing, and shed new light on discussions between law enforcement agencies ahead of the attack.
The documents also show the Secret Service took into account assessments from partner agencies, including the FBI and US Capitol Police, as they determined their security posture ahead of the January 6 vote certification. Despite the violent online rhetoric shared in these documents, none of the agencies gave a clear warning about the potential for large scale violence like what unfolded at the Capitol building that day, in spite of information they were sharing.
“No immediate threats being tracked at this time,” one summary of the FBI intelligence assessment related to January 6 that was shared with the Secret Service read.
However, the Secret Service was alerted to social media posts from sites such as Parler, which was then a popular far-right platform.
“Will fight for Trump no matter what,” one post flagged to the Secret Service read.
“When we say taking the power away from corruption we meant it,” said another.
The documents do not address other concerns raised by the committee this week, including inconsistent testimony from Secret Service witnesses, who told the panel “they had received no intelligence about violence that could have potentially threatened any of their protectees on January 6th, including the vice president.”
“Evidence strongly suggests that this testimony is not credible,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said during Thursday’s hearing.
Following the hearing, Schiff said in an interview with CNN that the committee intends “to bring people back in from the Secret Service, some who may have testified in ways that we don’t find credible now that we have obtained this documentary evidence, but other witnesses potentially that we have not heard from as well.”
In a statement to CNN, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the service “engaged in robust intelligence sharing” with its law enforcement partners “before and during January 6th.”
“Intelligence was received from and sent to multiple federal state and local agencies. Included are the redacted examples of these communications that were referenced in Thursday’s committee hearing and show the multi-agency communication,” he said.
“Though the Secret Service’s specific mission was executed without compromise, the unprecedented events of that day continue to be evaluated to ensure an attack on our democracy can never occur again,” Guglielmi said. “This is not only paramount to our institutions of government but speaks to the very existence and purpose of the United States Secret Service.”
Guglielmi also told CNN that the Secret Service “never received a communication from the committee about an employee’s testimony being contradicted.”
The House Select Committee declined to comment when asked about the documents.
Thursday’s hearing was the first since July 21. In the nearly three months since that hearing, the committee obtained more than 1 million records from the Secret Service. The panel revealed some of what they learned during Thursday’s hearing.
While there are still questions surrounding erased text messages from Secret Service agents around the insurrection, the panel obtained messages and emails showing the agency receiving warnings before January 6, 2021, about the prospect of violence, as well as real-time reports of weapons in the crowd ahead of Trump’s speech at the Ellipse.
Schiff said during Thursday’s hearing that the Secret Service had received alerts of online threats made against then-Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the Capitol insurrection, including that Pence would be “‘a dead man walking if he doesn’t do the right thing.’”
On January 6, one Secret Service agent texted at 12:36 p.m., according to the committee, “With so many weapons found so far; you wonder how many are unknown. Could be sporty after dark.”
Another agent responded minutes later, “No doubt. The people at the Ellipse said they are moving to the Capitol after the POTUS speech.”